The day the Earth moved

Winnipeg Sun - - NEWS - — The Wash­ing­ton Post

SEOUL — New radar satel­lite im­ages show the Sept. 3 nu­clear test by North Korea was pow­er­ful enough to sink a roughly 35-hectare area on the peak of a moun­tain above the tun­nels where the test likely took place.

North Korea car­ries out its nu­clear tests in a com­plex of tun­nels at its Pung­gye-ri site and im­ages of the moun­tains, in this case Mount Man­tap, above it can give ex­perts a sense of where the de­vice was tested ex­actly and how pow­er­ful it was.

The new Syn­thetic Aper­ture Radar satel­lite im­ages, cap­tured be­fore and af­ter Sept. 3, showed “sig­nif­i­cant changes at Man­tap’s peak el­e­va­tion.

Prior to the test, Man­tap was 2,205 me­tres high; the moun­tain has since di­min­ished in height,” wrote Jef­frey Lewis, head of the East Asia pro­gram at the James Martin Cen­ter for Non­pro­lif­er­a­tion Stud­ies in Cal­i­for­nia.

“You can see that the ex­plo­sion vis­i­bly dis­places the moun­tain, which demon­strates both how large the ex­plo­sion was but also that it oc­curred in the same tun­nel com­plex as the pre­ced­ing four nu­clear tests,” Lewis wrote on the Arms Con­trol Wonk web­site. “This is use­ful be­cause the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the size of the ex­plo­sion and the mag­ni­tude of the seis­mic sig­nals is sen­si­tive to the over­bur­den — how much rock is above the ex­plo­sion.”

The im­ages were taken by Air­bus, a space tech­nol­ogy com­pany that makes earth ob­ser­va­tion satel­lites, us­ing its Ter­raSAR-X satel­lite, and pro­vided to ex­perts at the cen­tre.

The de­vice, which North Korea de­scribed as a hy­dro­gen bomb ca­pa­ble of be­ing placed on a bal­lis­tic mis­sile, was the most pow­er­ful tested to date.

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